Forecasting Russia: Strength and Weakness

Thoughts in and around geopolitics.

Our forecast for Russia, dating back to my earliest books, was two-fold: first, that Russia would reassert itself and at least appear to be a significant force facing the European Peninsula and in the Caucasus, Russia’s two essential frontiers, and second, that the forces that brought the Soviet Union to its knees would continue to haunt the Russian Federation. In other words, there would be a resurrection of Russia followed by a second crisis that would tear it apart. The first forecast was accurate. We are now seeing the second unfold. My view was that with the emergence of Vladimir Putin, an old KGB man, the perception of Russia as broken and weak after the fall of the Soviet Union would be reversed and, once reversed, that Russia would be at once overestimated and underestimated as a global power. It would confront the West enough to be seen as a threat but never enough to go to war. Putin understood that appearing to be a threat is far safer than appearing to be weak. Other countries take advantage of the weak and are cautious around the strong. It followed that Putin would attempt to make Russia stronger and, more important, […]

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George Friedman

George Friedman is an internationally recognized geopolitical forecaster and strategist on international affairs and the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures.

Dr. Friedman is also a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book, THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM: America’s Discord, the Coming Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond, published February 25, 2020 describes how “the United States periodically reaches a point of crisis in which it appears to be at war with itself, yet after an extended period it reinvents itself, in a form both faithful to its founding and radically different from what it had been.” The decade 2020-2030 is such a period which will bring dramatic upheaval and reshaping of American government, foreign policy, economics, and culture.

His most popular book, The Next 100 Years, is kept alive by the prescience of its predictions. Other best-selling books include Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe, The Next Decade, America’s Secret War, The Future of War and The Intelligence Edge. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Dr. Friedman has briefed numerous military and government organizations in the United States and overseas and appears regularly as an expert on international affairs, foreign policy and intelligence in major media. For almost 20 years before resigning in May 2015, Dr. Friedman was CEO and then chairman of Stratfor, a company he founded in 1996. Friedman received his bachelor’s degree from the City College of the City University of New York and holds a doctorate in government from Cornell University.